(By Kennan Johnson) – It’s been a long time coming, but things have finally changed for the better in the Atlanta sports world.
After defeating the Green Bay Packers in the final game at the Georgia Dome the Atlanta Falcons are on their way to the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in the franchises’ 51 year history. Personally for me this was the most exciting NFL game I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, even though Green Bay barely put up a fight.
The Falcons came out and scored on their opening drive for the 8th straight time and set the tone early. The Packers had been on a tear since week 12 of the regular season, but unfortunately for them that all came to an abrupt ending the moment Mason Crosby missed a 41 yard field goal on Green Bay’s opening drive. This field goal would have put Green Bay on the board and made the score 7-3, but instead it let us all know that the Packers would been in for a long day in the Dome.
The Falcons started the game 4-4 on 3rd down and ended it 10-13, while the Packers weren’t efficient at all, converting only 4 of their 10 3rd down attempts throughout the game.
By the time halftime rolled around fans in the Dome were already prepared to celebrate. This young Falcons defense didn’t allow Aaron Rodgers to put up any points the entire 1st half, so the score was 24-0 at halftime.
Atlanta dominated the 2nd half as well, but the Falcons took their foot off the pedal just a bit and finally allowed Green Bay to get on the board. Nonetheless Matt Ryan and the Falcons would cruise their way to a 44-21 NFC Championship victory!
Things just didn’t go Green Bay’s way the entire game. Aaron Rodgers threw his first interception in what seems like forever, Aaron Ripkowski fumbled on the goal line when Green Bay desperately needed points, and Crosby missed the early field goal. Mix these things together along with some key missed opportunities and you have the recipe for disaster in a championship game.
On top of the mistakes the Packers kept making they had to deal with a Falcons team that was playing absolutely outstanding. Matt Ryan led his team to the Super Bowl with 392 yards and 4 passing touchdowns. At one point in the 3rd quarter Ryan led everyone in rushing yards and also had a rushing touchdown to show for it. He will be the NFL MVP soon, and for good reason, he definitely deserves any awards he gets for how terrific he has played this season.
Ryan connected with 8 different receivers, but Julio Jones was the star receiver of the game. Julio showed up and showed why he is the best receiver in the NFL grabbing 9 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Falcons are on their way to Super Bowl 51 in the franchises’ 51st year. I don’t think this is a coincidence, but we’ll see a couple weeks from now when they take on the New England Patriots in Houston!